English surname, probably related to Bartholomew
"son of the furrow"

Bartleby Origin and Meaning

The name Bartleby is a boy's name meaning "son of the furrow".

Bartleby (that's his last name) the Scrivener is a famous Herman Melville character whose surprisingly powerful refrain was, "I would prefer not to." Or, in the immortal words of any two-year-old: No.

Putting that aside, Bartleby is a unique baby name that could make a lively literary alternative to Barnaby.

Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street was made into movies three times, the latest starring Christian Glover. In the 1999 film "Dogma," Bartleby is a fallen angel played by Ben Affleck.

# 2234 on Nameberry

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Bartleby in Pop Culture

  • "Bartlebythe Scrivener" (1856), Melville's short story about a scrivener, or law,copyist. The narrator, his employer, says he is "the strangest I ever saw, or heard of"
  • Bartleby GainesJustin Long's character in "Accepted"